Andray Blatche’s bid to become a Filipino citizen to play for the country in the FIBA World Cup has hit a roadblock, as a powerful senator in the country has opposed granting him naturalization:
Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has objected to a bill seeking to grant National Basketball Association (NBA) player Andray Blatche citizenship so he could play for the Gilas national basketball team in the FIBA World Cup and the Asian Games.
Estrada said granting citizenship for the sole purpose of playing for the Philippines “is such a flimsy excuse which would place the Senate in an embarrassing situation because it gives the impression that anyone who wishes to play may simply go to the Senate and acquire Philippine citizenship through legislation,” he said. Naturalized citizens could eventually go back to their native land and forget the Philippines, he added.
Estrada adds that Blatche could convince him by abandoning his American citizenship and living in the country permanently. Estrada comes from a powerful family in the Philippines: his mother was a senator, and his father was the president of the country from 1998 to 2001. He was also born on the same day as Michael Jordan, which apparently does not give him any extra power in the senate.
We have not heard yet from Young Seymour on the subject.